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UC Regents Meeting Highlights

The UC Board of Regents met at the UCSF Mission Bay campus for a two-day meeting to discuss and vote on a range of UC-related issues, highlights that included the freezing of tuition hikes for the 2012-13 academic year and the establishment of UCI’s School of Education, from Tuesday, July 17 to Wednesday, July 18.

The Regents approved to adopt the Committee on Finance’s proposed resolution to not increase mandatory student fees in 2012-13. This is in accordance with Gov. Jerry Brown’s inclusion of a provision in the 2012-13 California state budget that would provide the UC system with an additional $125.4 million in the 2013-14 budget.

This incentive rides on the passage of The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 (also known as Proposition 30) on the November 6, 2012 ballot and is approved by California voters. The UC system must also maintain the 2011-12 mandatory tuition and fee levels for the 2012-13 academic year.

Proposition 30 merges both the California “Millionaire’s Tax Initiative” and Brown’s California Tax Increase Initiative. Under this proposed constitutional amendment, three increased tax brackets will be created for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000 and $500,000, and will be in effect for seven years.

In addition, the sales tax will be increased by a quarter of a percent for four years. All this is expected to generate an annual $8.5 billion. If passed, the tax initiative will help the UC system prevent a 20 percent mid-year tuition hike.

As seen in the resolutions made available on their website, the Regents noted that since the fiscal crisis in 2008-09, the UC budget has been decreased by almost $900 million, and the money for $1.2 billion in required fee increases has yet to be available.

In that same period of time, the UC system was forced to raise tuition and fees by 84 percent, which has compensated only roughly a third of the UC’s budget gap.

The Regents can revisit this resolution if Proposition 30 fails to pass in November 2012 or the UCs do not receive the funding as approved in the 2012-13 state budget. Should Brown’s initiative fail to pass, the UC budget will be decreased by an additional $250 million, and the $125.4 million backfill for the 2012-13 tuition and fee hike freeze will be lost, totaling a budget gap of $375.4 million.

The Regents emphasized how California, and the UC system in particular, has a long practice of striving to maintain public higher education institutions’ accessibility, affordability and quality.

This will be in danger if the state is unable to provide the UC system with the money it needs, which the Academic Council and the UC Student Association (UCSA) have recognized, as they voted for the Regents to endorse Brown’s tax initiative.

The Regents also approved the Committee on Education Policy’s recommendation of the establishment of a School of Education at UC Irvine. Under the new school’s curricula, students with two or more years of undergraduate work as well as graduate studies can receive M.S., M.A. in Teaching, Doctors of Education and Doctors of Philosophy.

UC Irvine graduate student Cinthia Flores was recommended by the Special Committee on Selection of a Student Regent for and appointed by the Regents as a UC Regent to serve from July 1, 2013 until June 30, 2014. She is to serve as Regent-designate effective immediately until her appointment goes in effect.

Upon her appointment, Flores was approved by the Regents to become an Advisory Member to the Committees on Educational Policy, Finance, Long Range Planning and Health Services. She will remain on those committees until July 30, 2013.

Finally, the Committee on Ground and Buildings reported that after reviewing and considering the environmental consequences of the expansion of UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the project was deemed fit for approval. The Regents then voted in favor of the proposal.